In what has been hailed by consultants as a massive cost-saving measure, the care of comatose NHS patients, including those in a permanent vegetative state, is to be put out to tender to private companies. The government's current preferred bidder is the Wackenhut Corporation, which plans to keep comatose patients in prison cells.
A government spokesman confirmed that keeping patients in prisons would enable the NHS to save millions of pounds. “Our analysts say that what the Wackenhut Corporation does is a perfect fit for comatose patients,” explained a government spokesman. “Like prisoners, comatose patients don't move around much and don't need much space or big windows, and they also need a toilet close by. Wackenhut are offering to care for them at half the price of anyone else, and really, how can the patients possibly notice what kind of surroundings they are in? This will free up thousands of hospital beds and save the NHS money.”
Questions have been raised about the suitability of prison environments for visiting relatives but a spokesman for Wackenhut Corporation, which is changing its name to G4S Secure Solutions because it sounds less violent, explained that the 'issue of ambience for the visitor' had already been addressed. “We've got prisoners making room decorations round the clock,” he explained. “Posters of ponies and rainbows and teddy bear mobiles and so on that we can use to decorate the cells, or 'Micro-Wards' as we are now calling them. These are exactly the kind of synergies we can offer that no one else can.”
The CEO of G4S Secure Solutions, as it will soon be known, gave a triumphant speech at the corporation's AGM a day after hearing that the corporation was the government's preferred bidder. “This is a forward-moving, out-of-the-box-thinking company of the future,” he said. “Who else would have realised that you could look after sick people so cheaply and get paid so much for it? Who else would have understood that a comatose prisoner – sorry, patient – would need no warders, and could be watched by the prison doctors we already employ? Who else would have realised that there was even more money to be made than we make from prisoners?” He later joked, “This is a license to print money, and we're bidding for that too next year.” The joke was greeted with a thunderous round of applause by shareholders.
Relatives of comatose patients expressed concern about the move but none of them could be printed due to the frequency and severity of expletives used. A government spokesman explained that their concerns had already been anticipated and addressed, though he declined to reveal how, instead presenting journalists with a graph of the efficiency savings to be made. The comatose patients themselves were unavailable for comment.